Jack Harrison celebrates one of his two goals. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — David who?
Despite playing without two of their three Designated Players, New York City FC turned out to be a difficult side to beat Saturday night.
City overcame a one-goal second-half deficit en route to a 3-2 triumph over the Columbus Crew at MAPRFE Stadium.
Forward Jack Harrison wound up having the first and last words giving the visitors a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute and connecting for the game-winner in the 76th minute off a Columbus defensive error.
The win boosted NYCFC (4-3-1, 13 points) into third place behind first-place Orlando City SC and the Red Bulls while Columbus (4-4-1, 13) fell off the lead and into fourth place.
“It was a big result for us,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “I think we had a really good game plan, and coming in here against a really good side and managing to go back to New York with three points is really big for us.”
Striker David Villa, the captain who made the trip, was ill and wound up remaining back at the team hotel here. He had been sick for most of the week and did not practice.
Midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who had been subbed out in five matches this season, dressed and was part of the 18, but never got off the bench.
City grabbed an early lead as Harrison, off a feed from DP and midfielder Maxi Moralez, chipped goalkeeper Zack Steffen for a 1-0 advantage in the eighth minute.
“We were on the counter-attack,” Harrison said, adding that “[Moralez] had come over to the right-hand side and made a run in behind and played a perfect ball, and I just managed to chip it over the keeper.”
Federico Higuain knotted things up in the 29th minute, taking a ball from Jukka Raitala and scoring off a half-volley.
NYCFC allowed Columbus to take a 2-1 edge in the 49th minute. While trying to take the ball out of the back, center back Alexander Callens gave the ball to the Crew’s Ethan Finlay on a silver platter. Finlay crossed to Higuain, who dummied the ball to Ola Kamara for the score.
City was far from finished as Yangel Herrera, playing for Pirlo, tallied his first MLS goal with a header in the 64th minute for a 2-2 tie before Harrison connected for his second goal.
Harrison said his second goal “was great team pressure. We pressed very well, [Yangel Herrera] was able to touch the ball away from the defender and I just managed to get there before someone else was behind me and just slide it in the back of the net.”
Added Vieira: “I think Jack had a fantastic game. I think when you come to a place like that, and play the way that we played you need players to be at their best. When you look at Jack, he was fantastic not just because of the goals he scored, but the way he worked for the team.”
New York City FC: Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot (C), Ethan White; Maxi Moralez (89’ Frederic Brillant), Yangel Herrera, Alexander Ring; Rodney Wallace (90’+3’ RJ Allen), Sean Okoli (86’ Miguel Camargo), Jack Harrison